Reader Opinion: When We Say “5G,” We Mean 5G

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Everything is about to change. Breakthroughs in connectivity, artificial intelligence, robotics, virtual reality, augmented reality, autonomous vehicles, wearables and the Internet of Things (IoT) will all impact our lives in ways we can’t imagine. Underpinning these technological advancements is 5G.

The potential for 5G is awesome, but the potential to over-hype and under-deliver on the 5G promise is a temptation that the wireless industry must resist. If network providers, equipment manufacturers, handset makers, app developers and others in the wireless ecosystem engage in behavior designed to purposefully confuse consumers, public officials and the investment community about what 5G really is, we risk alienating the very people we want most to join in developing and harnessing this exciting new technology.  

That’s why we’re calling on the broad wireless industry to commit to labeling something 5G only if new device hardware is connecting to the network using new radio technology to deliver new capabilities. Verizon is making this commitment today: We won’t take an old phone and just change the software to turn the 4 in the status bar into a 5. We will not call our 4G network a 5G network if customers don’t experience a performance or capability upgrade that only 5G can deliver.

Doing so would break an enduring and simple promise we’ve made to our customers: That each new wireless generation makes new things possible.

It is this belief that led us to bring together key device, chip and network equipment manufacturing partners to create the 5G Technology Forum with the goal of developing global 5G standards more quickly. The result was a commercial 5G offering a full two years ahead of original estimates. It’s why we committed to build the first 5G Ultra Wideband network. It is the reason we opened 5G Labs to support entrepreneurs and innovators as they build the 5G applications that will change how we live, work and play. And it’s the motivating factor behind our sponsorship of 5G development challenges focused on education, public safety, robotics and other critical areas where 5G can impact lives today and tomorrow.

We lead by example. And we challenge our competitors, vendors and partners to join us. People need a clear, consistent and simple understanding of 5G so they are able to compare services, plans and products, without having to maneuver through marketing double-speak or technical specifications.

Our industry knows 5G will change the world. Let’s uphold that promise, while maintaining our integrity. The success of the 5G technological revolution must be measured in truth and fact, not marketing hype.  Comments? Email us.

By Kyle Malady, Verizon Chief Technology Officer

January 10, 2019

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